DILG, India ink pact to fund LGUs' quick impact projects

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

February 7, 2023, 5:16 pm

<p>DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (left) and Indian Ambassador to Manila Shambhu Kumaran (right) <em>(PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)</em></p>

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (left) and Indian Ambassador to Manila Shambhu Kumaran (right) (PNA photo by Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Indian government on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for New Delhi's grant of financial aid to fund "quick impact projects" of local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines.

Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. and Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran signed the pact in simple rites at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, for the grant of US$50,000 (around PHP2.7 million) each for these projects of chosen LGUs.

Abalos said a committee will identify at least five projects from LGUs nationwide which can be "immediately felt on the ground.’’

“So itong bigay na grant na ito ay for quick impact projects, yung mararamdaman kaagad ng mga kababayan natin sa ibaba. Ito ay limang proyekto na ibaba kaagad. So merong committee na itatayo na rin para siya mag-aaral kung ano ano ito (This grant is for quick impact projects that will immediately be felt by our countrymen on the ground. This are five projects that will be delivered outright. There will be a committee that will be created to scrutinize what these projects are),’’ Abalos told reporters.

DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs Francisco Cruz said the committee should immediately convene and set the parameters to start the process of identifying the LGU recipients of the Indian grant.

Cruz said that there will be a “call for proposal’’ that will determine the number of LGU recipients and based on that it is up to the government of India to provide the budget for the projects.

Kumaran, meanwhile, said the grant may be used to finance education, health, energy or infrastructure programs of the Philippine government.

“The idea is that this shall we say gestation, short gestation, quick impact projects that make an impact at the grassroots and the idea is that we have a bunch of projects. We start with five, it could go to 10, and it could go to 20 over a period of time so that the idea is we move quickly to identify the projects. The idea is we can bring this very quickly, no administrative cost, just goes in straight and we do a very short process that has tangible benefits that can be seen very quickly,’’ Kumaran said.

The Indian envoy added that the grant “is purely out of friendship and has no conditions attached". (PNA)